In this dramatic memoir of early-twentieth century immigration, author Li Keng Wong shares her family’s journey from rural China to a new life in California.
In 1933, seven-year-old Li Keng’s life changed forever. Her father decided to bring his family from a small village in southern China to California. Getting to America was not easy. Getting past America’s strict anti-Chinese immigration laws was even more difficult. Any misstep could mean deportation and disgrace for their family.
Life in America during the Great Depression brought many exciting surprises as well as a few disappointments. Hunger, poverty, police raids, frequent moves, and the occasional sting of racism were a part of everyday life, but slowly Li Keng and her family found stability and a true home in “Gold Mountain.”
An author’s note contains photos and an update on Li Keng Wong’s family. Presenting the joys and sorrows of pursuing the American Dream during a time of racism and great poverty, but also immense opportunity, the book contains information on Angel Island and its significance in history as well as an explanation of the Chinese Exclusion Act.
“This memoir clearly shows the hardships, sacrifices, and eventual successes of the Chinese families who came to America during the Depression…. Photographs of the family when they are older show prosperous and happy people and leave readers with a sense of the richness of the immigrant experience.” ―School Library Journal
“The vivid cultural details…are fascinating, whether Wong is describing her mother’s traditional wedding or the family’s first apartment in California, where her father coped with the Depression by running a gambling business in the family’s front room. The plain words leave room for readers to imagine their own emotional responses.” ―Booklist
“Li Keng Wong wonderfully describes her experience… I highly recommend this book.” ―New York Amsterdam News
“Li Keng Wong’s personal account of her journey to America adds a much needed additional chapter to America’s immigration narrative. Her lively story helps illustrate immigration from a personal perspective and shares rich details of life in China and in America during the 1930s.” ―Erika Gee, Director of Education, Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation
AR Level: 4.5
F&P: U, Gr 5, Genre B
Themes: China, Citizenship, Immigration
BISAC 1: JNF053240 JUVENILE FICTION / Emigration & Immigration
BISAC 2: JNF053140 JUVENILE FICTION / Social Issues/Prejudice & Racism
BISAC 3: JNF007050 JUVENILE FICTION / Biography & Autobiography/Cultural Heritage